Care Package

I’m putting together a care package for The Swede and his daughter.

I took back so much deliciousness from Sweden, it only seems fair to share my California with them.

But what to get?

Fucking Ghost Pepper Nuts!

And Caroline Reaper Jerky!

You know, just to say “thanks for destroying my taste buds when you fed me that spicy chocolate truffle.”

It’s my way of returning the favor.

Of course Tejas contributed to the package with his Ghost Pepper Infused Salt.

Mmmmm.

Nothing says “you’re special” like a third degree burn to the lips.

Am I right?

I jest.

And I got Sriracha sauce just because MAYBE they don’t have it in Sweden and who doesn’t LOVE Sriracha sauce?

But seriously, I also picked up some Dayquil/Nyquil for them since it’s not available in Sweden.

Hopefully it will slip by customs.

And then there’s a small but select pile of makeup and skin care products for The Swede’s daughter.

Because I have NO IDEA what else to get her.

And finally, I picked up some SWEDISH FISH for them.

Because they have FISH CANDY in Sweden, but not SWEDISH FISH.

A box of that will remedy the situation.

So whaddya think?

Is it a good care package?

What to do in the City

Now that I have gone to Sweden to visit The Swede, I am hoping that he and his youngest daughter will come to California to visit me.

Of course, I’d love to host The Swede for Burning Man, but since that’s unlikely to happen I’ve made a Plan B.

First of all, Tejas offered to host The Swede and his daughter.

He has the room, I do not.

He has no pets. I have a cat, which The Swede’s daughter is allergic to.

So sweet of Tejas to offer.

Which means we will be a foursome exploring the Bay Area.

I am loathe to go to the city (SF) since I drive a big truck and it’s IMPOSSIBLE to find parking in the city for a truck, but I think perhaps we could manage a day or two in the city, especially since Tejas is really familiar with San Francisco and can help me navigate around.

Here are some ideas I have for what to do:

  • Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Visit Fisherman’s Wharf and feed The Swedes some Bay Area seafood
  • Check out Alcatraz
  • Shop at Union Square
  • Ride a cable car
  • Watch the Giants play baseball
  • Check out the Aquarium of the Bay
  • Visit Ghiradelli Square and enjoy an ice cream sundae
  • Sample Ferry Building food
  • Explore the Walt Disney Family Museum
  • Enjoy an Irish coffee at The Buena Vista

How that for a list of activities to do in San Francisco?

If you have better ideas, please share!

WOW!

So by now you all know I had a great time during my visit to Sweden.

What you don’t know is that I picked up a nasty virus on the plane ride home and I’ve literally been coughing so hard that I gag.

It’s simply awful.

I just got checked out by a doctor, since I was feeling so awful and barking like a dog, and she told me I don’t have the flu, I have RSV – a respiratory virus that runs its course in 1 – 2 weeks.

Fun!

Although I am relieved I didn’t pick up a virus on the plane ride over, that would have really SUCKED.

I flew on the Icelandic airline WOW Airlines.

For being a discount airline flying to Europe, they were remarkably well put together – they got me where I needed to be on time.

My sole view of Iceland was from the airplane flying in as I was heading home.

What does Iceland look like, you want to know?

Rocks and snow.

I’m afraid I saw nothing more than rocks and snow as we were flying in and even less of Iceland when we flew out, seeing as how the sun sets in the sky remarkably early in the afternoon at this latitude.

I must say this about Icelandic women, though.

Damn, they are BEAUTIFUL!

EVERY. SINGLE. FLIGHT. ATTENDANT. WAS. TALL. WILLOWY. AND. GORGEOUS.

So you know, if you feel like flying to Europe AND enjoying some eye candy at the same time, WOW is the airline for you.

Farewell soft pillows of my body!

I’ve always imagined that I look peaceful and sweet when I sleep.

Like a dainty little goddess floating on a sea of pillows.

Of course that was before The Swede took a picture of me sleeping on New Year’s Day and shared it with me.

Furrowed brow.

Bundled in blankets.

Pouty lip.

Not exactly the picture of sweetness and light I was hoping for.

Lately, I’m unimpressed with all pictures of me.

There’s just a little too much round and not enough angles.

But that’s on remedy, since my Medical Weight Management program starts today.

Nothing like going on a 960 calories-a-day diet to make a person slim down post holiday season, eh?

Sadly, I am fearful I will lose my butt and my boobs in the process, but it’s something I must live with if I want to be healthy.

Farewell soft pillows of my body.

I’m gonna miss you!

Would you like SAUCE with that?

Something I noticed when I was in Sweden is that the Swedes like sauces on their foods.

Virtually everything I ate had some sort of accompanying sauces to go with it.

When I ate steak and mashed potatoes artfully arranged on a plank, there were several sauces to go with it.

My favorite?

Svamp sauce.

Yes, indeed.

SVAMP sauce.

Ok, so MAYBE it was mushroom sauce but I loved the name of the sauce.

The next morning, after eating SVAMP sauce with steak, I had breakfast and The Swede was kind enough to let me sample his favorite – a tube of pinkish caviar sauce which he squeezed like toothpaste ALL OVER HIS BREAKFAST.

I’d like to say “yum” but I believe my reaction to tasting it was to look for something that could replace the flavor in my mouth AS FAST AS POSSIBLE.

After tasting the caviar paste, I was obsessed with it however.

So when I came across THIS display of tubes of sauce in the grocery store, I had to stop and examine them.

The tubes had a millions different flavors – shrimp, caviar, salmon. . .even DEER!

I was amused.

Then I walked around the corner and found EVEN MORE TUBES!

And that’s when I realized that The Swedes really do love their sauces.

Hollandaise, béarnaise, crème anglaise, beurre blanc – the French have NOTHING on the Swedes!

Thin walls

In addition to meeting The Swede’s YOUNGEST daughter, I also got to meet his ELDEST daughter.

And his parents.

It was quite an experience, although if I think back, I did introduce him to my sons and my parents when we were going to UnSCruz together.

Of course, with the language barrier, there was only so much communicating we could do.

Most of our interactions consisted of them feeding me and me saying “tack” or “thank you” in Swedish.

His mother cooked THE MOST AMAZING PORK LOIN for dinner one night.

I’m used to pork turning out dry and in desperate need of gravy.

But this was OUTSTANDING.

I tried to communicate my appreciation.

“Thank you very much,” I said in Swedish.

His parents home was like something out of a dream – a fairytale cottage with an explosion of Christmas decorations inside.

I sneaked a picture of The Swede as a little boy.

And one of his youngest daughter in pigtails.

Too cute for words.

As we were going to bed (in a bed only SLIGHTLY LARGER than a twin bed), The Swede began to chat with his father in the room next door.

Through the walls.

All my plans for nookie disappeared.

When you can hear your neighbor that PERFECTLY, there’s no space for fooling around.

I may be horny but I’m not disrespectful.

“Family”

In Sweden, I got to experience what it’s like to have a boyfriend for a week.

And how was it, you ask?

Not too shabby.

Actually, cohabitating with The Swede and his daughter was fun.

I imagined, as our threesome wandered about the city of Stockholm, that people assumed that we were a real family.

I let myself fantasize that I had a daughter.

And a man who loves me.

So what if it’s not true?

It can’t hurt to pretend.

We even did chores together, like laundry and dishes.

Well, to be honest, The Swede did chores and I watched.

All in all, I really enjoyed my fantasy weekend in Sweden.

I got to sleep in late with The Swede.

I got to enjoy the company of his hockey-playing daughter.

And I got to explore Stockholm and the countryside.

I’d say it was a vacation well spent!

Smörgåsbord

The Swede and his daughter made room in their house for me during my visit to Sweden.

It was very thoughtful of them to accommodate me for a whole week while I immersed myself in all things Swedish.

As a thank you, I took them to the smörgåsbord at The Grand Hôtel in Stockholm – a beautiful waterfront hotel located in between the Royal Palace and Gamla Stan (Stockholm’s Old Town).

What can I possibly say about the smörgåsbord?

It was mind blowing.

First of all, there were lots of fish dishes, from gravlax (salmon) to poached cod to smoked sturgeon.

The only gross thing I ate was a slice of homemade sausage that tasted like armpit.

Everything else was scrumptious!

They made these little egg cups with caviar on top that were TO DIE FOR.

I think I ate three.

The Swede’s daughter ate four.

I washed all my food down with two glasses of champagne and the only downside to The Swede driving us into Stockholm is that he wasn’t able to enjoy champagne with me (the drunk driving BAC limit in Sweden is 0.02, a quarter of what it is in the US).

It was a pretty amazing night and a wonderful meal with outstanding company and I will treasure my memories of it always.

 

 

Arctic plunge

OK.

So we’ve established I was hot during my ENTIRE trip to Sweden.

Yes, indeed.

With a suitcase full of warm sweaters and tights, what was I to do?

Well, I went with The Swede to visit his friends in Jättendal for New Year’s Eve.

Snow everywhere!

And. . . The Swede’s friends have a hot tub.

First I was served the most SCRUMPTIOUS meal – mashed potatoes, steak, and pickled asparagus wrapped in bacon.

Then I jumped into the hot tub (with a bathing suit on, natch).

Before too long, even the snow banks and cool air couldn’t keep me at a comfortable temperature.

So I jumped out and sat in the snow in my bathing suit.

And I will have you know, neither one of the Swedish born-and-bred men who were in the hot tub with me got out to jump in the snow.

Just saying. . .

This California girl likes her ARCTIC PLUNGES!

FIRE in the hole!

I’m not going to put any of this in perspective for you so that you can be as unsuspecting a victim as I was.

The Swede and his daughter took me to a market and they each proceeded to fill a bag with at least a kilo of sweets from the bulk candy bins.

They bought everything from chocolate to salted licorice to candy.

We got back to The Swede’s house and I was in the kitchen chopping onions when The Swede walked up to me and stretched out his hand.

In his palm was one glorious, chocolate truffle, dusted in even more choclate.

Mmmmmm.

I gobbled it up.

And that’s when I learned my lesson.

Because I wasn’t eating a chewy, delicious morsel of chocolate.

Oh no!

I was eating a Chili Kugler spicy chocolate.

On a spiciness scale of 1 – 15, this was rated a 15.

Now, you might think it was mean of The Swede to trick me like ths.

But actually he warned me about it earlier.

I just forgot in light of our recent trip to the candy aisle.

So there I am, slurping water from the kitchen faucet, begging The Swede for milk with drool pouring off my throbbing tongue.

The good news is that all was no lost.

The Swede and his daughter and  had a rip roaring time watching me slowly recover from my spicy adventure.

But let it be known that when The Swede says he has a spicy treat for you, HE MEANS IT!